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    Byron J. CARTER

    Male 1863 - 1908  (44 years)


    Personal Information    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

    • Name Byron J. CARTER 

      • When Byron married Della, he said on the marriage record that he had been married once before. When the 1900 census was taken, the Byron J. Carter family was living at 214 Washington St. in Jackson, Michigan. Byron was a dealer in bicycles. When the 1920 census was taken, Della and her two children were living at 105 Third St. in Jackson. When the 1930 census was taken, Della was living by herself at 107 _______ St. in Jackson.

        Byron J. Carter built a steam car in 1902 and joined with two fellow Jackson investors, George Matthews, owner of Fuller Buggy Co., and Charles Lewis, president of Lewis Spring and Axle Co., in 1903 to form the Jackson Automobile Co. to manufacture steam and gasoline engine cars. Carter left this company in 1905 to pursue his idea of a friction drive automobile when he formed the Cartercar Motorcar Company. Production began in 1905 with the 1 and 2-cylinder models. Only 2-cylinder cars were produced from 1906 through 1909. Only 4-cylinder cars were produced beginning with the 1910 model. Cartercar was known for their gearless, friction drive transmission. Cartercar was absorbed into General Motors in October 26, 1909.

        A skilled mechanic, Carter had developed a special friction transmission which, according to him, was infinitely superior to anything else on the market. He set about demonstrating its virtues—and those of the car he built around it—with exceptional energy. Carter made no claims for the speed of his auto; what he was selling was strength, toughness, and flexibility. He sent his car to state fairs, ran it up library steps and down cog railway inclines, lashed it to massive traction engines, and bulled it ahead through snowstorms. He had every accomplishment photographed, and ran the pictures in his brochures. Occasionally, Carter would manufacture a bizarre situation to show special virtues of his machine: its ease in starting was demonstrated by the midget Count Magri, who cranked it up while his wife, General Tom Thumb widow, looked on; its supernatural smoothness allowed Mr. Doan, a tightrope walker, to teeter his way over ten miles of countryside on a rope fixed above the body of the auto. Carters campaign was effective enough to sway at least one highly knowledgeable car owner. William Durant, the founder of General Motors, was so impressed by the frictionless drive that in 1909 he bought the patent and the company. Six years later, he quietly shut down the whole enterprise.

        In 1910, Byron suffered a broken jaw and arm when he stopped to help a woman with the crank-starter on her car. The crank, linked directly to the cars drive shaft, was capable of bucking out of the hands of its "cranker," and Carter suffered for it. His injuries grew complicated and, combined with a case of pneumonia, killed him. The death of Byron so distressed his close friend Henry Leland, founder of Cadillac that he hired Charles F. Kettering to develop a self-starting mechanism which he applied for a U.S. patent in 1911.

      Born 17 Aug 1863  Hanover, Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Gender Male 
      Died 06 Apr 1908  MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Person ID I12838  Chartier Family
      Last Modified 7 Jul 2016 

      Father Squire CARTER,   b. c.1837, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 08 Feb 1914, Jackson, Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 77 years) 
      Relationship Birth 
      Mother Martha CRUM,   b. c.1842 
      Relationship Birth 
      Married c.1860 
      Family ID F6364  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

      Family Dorothy J. (Della) GILLETTE,   b. c.Oct 1875, MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Married 01 Jul 1896  Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Children 
       1. Rachel Lucretia CARTER,   b. 31 Oct 1897, Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
       2. Barbara J. CARTER,   b. 06 May 1901, Jackson, Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Oct 1902, Jackson, Jackson Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)  [Birth]
       3. Kenneth G. CARTER,   b. 01 May 1906, Detroit, Wayne Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Sep 1976, Saugatuck, Allegan Co., MI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)  [Birth]
      Last Modified 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 
      Family ID F6365  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    • Event Map
      Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Aug 1863 - Hanover, Jackson Co., MI Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsMarried - 01 Jul 1896 - Jackson Co., MI Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsDied - 06 Apr 1908 - MI Link to Google Earth
       = Link to Google Earth